Souls Shot Portrait Project
7782 Crittenden Rd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19118
Laura Madeleine, Executive / Curator
The Souls Shot Portrait Project links fine artists with families or friends of victims of gun violence. Souls Shot Portrait Project was founded in 2016. Since its founding, 270 portraits have been painted. The artists meet with the victims’ loved ones to learn about the lives they lived. The relationships between artists and families diminish the isolation often felt during grief and bring solace to the families. The relationships benefit the artists as well, providing a way to be part of the solution to gun violence by bringing compassion to the families and helping the public recognize the human cost of each murder.
Each exhibit consists of thirty portraits, and SSPP can mount three of its exhibits at once. Portraits have been shown in houses of worship, the Tyler School of Art, Universities, Museums, Philadelphia’s City Hall, Pennsylvania’s State House, Arts Centers, Hospitals, Clinics, and elsewhere. Each exhibit is opened with a reception. After a year on tour, most of the portraits are donated by the artists to the victims’ families.
Humanizing the people impacted by gun violence is a challenge for most of the white population which experiences gun violence less often. The Souls Shot Portrait Project meets that challenge by bringing names, faces, and stories into houses of worship, hospitals, schools, and museums. The exhibits not only honor those murdered, but they also keep their memories fresh in the public eye and hopefully will channel public outrage into support for policies and practices that will make all of us safer.
Souls Shot Portrait Project aligns perfectly with the mission of Zones of Peace: “to work with others to eliminate the causes of hatred, to honor the dignity of all people, to lay down our weapons and to find non-violent solutions … to make (homes and neighborhoods) zones of peace, free from fear, filled with respect, and marked by deeds of kindness.”